How to Reverse an Interior Door

If you've lived in enough houses, you have probably come across a door that opens the wrong way. This is a result of remodeling, old building construction or even a reused door to close off a room. To fix the problem, you must reverse the hinges the door swings on and the location of the latch. The problem is not as complex as it sounds. Most interior doors can be reversed with a few tools in a few hours.

Open door and hallway
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The direction of the door swing can be changed.

Step 1

Open the door to the widest extension. Unscrew the screws holding the top hinge from the door frame with the screwdriver bit attached to your power drill. Keep the screws in a cup for safe keeping. Repeat the step for each hinge. Keep the hinges attached to the door.

Step 2

Unscrew the strike plate from the frame with the drill and screwdriver bit. The strike plate is where the door latches when it is closed.

Step 3

Unscrew the kick plate if there is one. This is the metal strip along the floor in front of the door. Turn the kick plate around to face the opposite direction. Screw the kick plate back into position. Skip this step if there is no plate.

Step 4

Turn the door to face the opposite direction. The hinges should be on the opposite side of the frame. Align the door with the frame so the hinges are against the frame. Trace the outline of the hinges on the door frame. Trace the screw holes of the hinges onto the frame. Remove the door. You should have outlines of each hinge and screw positions on the frame.

Step 5

Drill pilot holes for each screw hole of each hinge into the frame using the tracings as a guide.

Step 6

Chisel out 1/8 inch of the frame where the outlines for the hinges are with a chisel and hammer. You are making indentations in the frame for the hinges. Set the chisel against the edge of the frame and strike the end of the handle with the hammer head.

Step 7

Line up the door with the frame. Set the hinges into the chiseled areas with the door in the open position. You may need to chisel more wood if the hinges don't sit flush with the frame. Screw the hinges to the frame by drilling the screws into the pilot holes.

Step 8

Unscrew the doorknob assembly with the drill and screwdriver bit. Pull the assembly apart. Reverse the assembly so the latch faces the opposite direction. Reassemble the doorknob in the door. Screw the doorknob assembly back into the door.

Step 9

Close the door to ensure it fits without sticking. Check the swing of the door multiple times. Adjust the hinges by tightening the screws of the hinge opposite to the tight spot. If the door sticks on top, adjust the lower hinge and visa versa.

Step 10

Close the door a final time. Mark the position of the top and bottom of the latch on the door frame. This is where the new strike plate goes. Line up the plate on the frame with the marks so the beveled lip faces the door. Trace the hole of the plate on the frame with your pencil. Remove the plate. Drill into the frame at the hole position with a 1-inch boring bit. Make the hole deep enough to accept the latch.

Step 11

Chisel a hole around the latch hole one-eighth-inch deep for the plate. Attach the strike plate flush with the frame in the chiseled area. Adjust the area as needed with the chisel and hammer.

Step 12

Fill in the original locations of the strike plate and hinges with wood filler and a putty knife. Allow the filler to dry. Sand the filler flush with the frame with a medium-grit sandpaper. Repaint the entire frame to cover up the transition.